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NEW: GPS & Student Tracking App


contact person to get ECF money.” Ulrich explained that the district tested several


portable Wi-Fi units three years ago to stay on the cutting edge of technology. “We like to try new technology so we can stay ahead of the game.” Ulrich explained. “We had trialed several of the por- table units about three years ago. Then we decided to have them installed. We are looking at trying to make sure all our buses have Wi-Fi.” Ulrich added the district has provided laptops to all 38,000 students who needed them.


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Collateral Benefits The collateral benefits of installing Wi-Fi capa-


bilities on a school bus are no less inspiring than the academic ones. District after district report an increase in attendance and a decrease in student disciplinary problems, which coincides with an increase in driver morale and retention at a time when experienced bus drivers are at a premium. Lambert specifically noted the increase in student


achievement, the decrease in discipline, and the increase in attendance at Beekmantown. But he stressed that it was not the Wi-Fi units alone that should be credited. “Any one of those three things would make a school district happy, but the Wi- Fi initiative was only one of many initiatives we implemented to improve student achievement,” Lambert explained. “It certainly contributed to the positive outcomes we are seeing. But that was only part of a cumulative effect. “We gave devices to students, but we also provid-


ed professional development for our staff. And we added connectivity. There is no one magic formula. It’s consistently doing good things for kids that add up over time,” he continued. Lambert noted another contributing factor to stu-


dent achievement created by Wi-Fi is that it added more time to the school day without lengthening the school day. “It’s a very difficult thing to find more hours in the


day without lengthening the actual school day or lengthening the schedule,” Lambert suggested. “So, school districts would do well to be more creative about making better use of the hours that are already there and Wi-Fi on school buses is a way to do that.” Ulrich said Aurora tracks student behavior and she too has noticed an improvement. “I know from the feedback that [Wi-Fi] has helped,” she reported. “The kids are better behaved so there is less student management. This makes for a calmer bus. A lot of drivers encourage the kids to take advantage of it.” ●


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